Four “Dangerous” Actors

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With so many festivals leaving the scene or changing their own scene, the DREAM UP FESTIVAL 2019, presented every end-of-summer by Theater For The New City, Crystal Field, Artistic Director, remains a go-to place for quality indie theater these days.

A shining example is this particular entry in this year’s festival – opening in just a few days. Dangerous to Dance With written by Bill Rogers and directed by Gerald vanHeerden. This featured event will be at TNC’s Johnson Theater Space, 155 First Avenue (between 9th and 10th Streets), NYC for FIVE PERFORMANCES ONLY: 8/30 Friday, 9pm; 09/01 Sunday, 8pm; 09/02 Monday, 6:30pm; 09/04 Wednesday, 9pm; and 09/05 Thursday, 6:30pm. 

A paranoid playwright, a broken acrobat, a adult film star, a neurotic farmer, and a plumber (who may be a hitman), walk in a secluded Missouri farmhouse. Imagine watching a live episode of HBO’s Big Little Lies or Deception? What’s funnier than a play about SEX, GREED, AND SELF-DECEPTION?

Directed by another festival dignitary, Gerald vanHeerden, former artistic director of the Midtown International Theatre Festival, one of the oldest and most respected in the line-up of arts fests in NYC. 

We had a chance to chat with four featured members of the cast:
Drew Jordan, Mark A. Keeton and Brothers Hofmaier – Luke & Mark

 

Jordan, a Bay Ridginal Brooklynite, began as an athlete, then a trainer then dabbled in commercial print work and then… the rest is history. Keeton, a 20-year veteran of New York theater as an actor, director, and writer (in theater and film) is also a serious animal lover with a house full of them and the Hofmaier men: Luke, a native New Yorker, who began his career at age 8 appearing with his father in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing; and Mark, a life long actor; coach; husband; father; devoted and loyal friend; dog lover.  

OK, guys… how do you approach characters in such a dark play with such strong subject mater?
Mark A. Keeton: I think every character has lived through trauma at some point in their lives, but their response to it informs their outlooks and future. So dark characters or material are a delightful challenge to tackle. Creating a three dimensional character requires both light and dark facets to be part of them. It’s the balance between the two we have to find.
Drew Jordan: I try to find the character’s truth regardless of the genre. If I am truthful to the characters wants, needs, and thoughts even if they may be dark, I feel I am honoring the playwright’s intentions. 
Luke Hofmaier: As one of my teachers would always say: “go to the text”. Most of the answers will be there.  Besides that, you fill in blanks about their past that aren’t explicitly mentioned in the text, and you keep asking questions: what are they hiding? What do they need? Is what’s happening in each moment good for them or bad for them? Nick specifically has many layers  that, unlike Harris or Irwin, he doesn’t talk much about. There’s a lot about himself that he chooses not to share. So that just means more questions for me, which has been a lot of fun. 

Mark Hofmaier: Same way I approach any role, one step at a time – from both the outside and inside, looking for behavior and motivation, as well as character traits – using imagination and intuition, + years of experience and technique

 

Does your creative process change per show or do you attack each role with the same “mission?”  
Mark A. Keeton: I like to approach each role with the same enthusiasm but the material affects my preparation. 
Drew Jordan: I’d have to say yes to both on this one. I don’t necessarily believe in a recipe for success, I use whatever works.  I attack each role in the same way by reading the play multiple times doing a very deep script analysis. I then use that script analysis to make choices regarding my character. The creative process however regarding the way my character may walk, talk, strut, flex, hold a coffee cup, drink whiskey would all depend on my interpretation of that character backed by the logic of the script. As each script is different, my creative process may change in regards to doing more external work or more internal work to find that character’s truth while honoring the playwright’s intentions.

Luke Hofmaier: Every role/project is a little bit different in terms of process. I haven’t used the word  “mission”, but I guess my mission would be to personalize and tell the truth in every role I play, all while serving the greater story. And to enjoy myself in the process. 

Mark A. Keeton: Same mission – create a believable and compelling character AND HAVE FUN DOING IT.

Living playwright … pros (and are there cons?). All pros – have the advantage of asking questions, and collaborating at a higher level.

What do you hope the audience takes away from this piece? a sense of enjoyment and entertainment: an evening in the theater well spent!

Living playwright … pros (and are there cons?).
Drew Jordan: It’s wonderful to work with a living playwright because if you do have a specific question you can get a direct answer. It is also great because they will keep writing more plays.

Mark A. Keeton: I enjoy working with living playwrights because you can sometimes create new moments and ideas together. 
Luke Hofmaier: They’re around to give us further insight into the characters and the story. Bill has also been very helpful in sending us these bull dancing videos, which are legitimately incredible and how Nick ruined his career. 

Mark A. Keeton: All pros – have the advantage of asking questions, and collaborating at a higher level.

What do you hope the audience takes away from this piece?

Drew Jordan: I hope the audience sees themselves or someone they know within the play. I hope it gives them a better understanding of what someone may be going through and possibly a way to break through to them

Mark A. Keeton: I hope the audience will thoroughly enjoy the show and take away a positive message about breaking out of stasis, despite how difficult change can be. The only shots you regret are the ones you don’t take.

Luke Hofmaier: I hope they have fun!  This play deals with characters who are grappling with their fantasized or past self-image versus who they are in reality, and I think that’s something we all deal with and can relate to.  

Mark A. Keeton: A sense of enjoyment and entertainment: an evening in the theater well spent!

Theater for the New City, Dream Up Festival

Dangerous to Dance With

By Bill Rogers
Directed by Gerald vanHeerden
AUGUST 30 – SEPTEMBER 5

SEX, GREED, AND SELF-DECEPTION: A DARK COMEDY

A paranoid playwright, a broken acrobat, a porn star, a neurotic farmer, and a plumber, who may be a hitman, meet in a secluded Missouri farmhouse. Together they face one of life’s most pressing questions: should they laugh or should they die?

Website link: Dangerous to Dance With

https://dangeroustodancewith.brownpapertickets.com/

 

Johnson Theater Space

155 First Avenue
(between 9th and 10th Streets)
New York, NY 10003

New York Premiere, 90 mins running time

8/30 Friday, 9pm

09/01 Sunday, 8pm

09/02 Monday, 6:30pm

09/04 Wednesday, 9pm

09/05 Thurday, 6:30pm

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